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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 007 meets the Mob
The fourth novel in the 007 series is a step back in a certain way, being a straight action/adventure Police story with certain familiar elements of the Bond world and some links to the spy genre. Maybe the American Mafia isn't quite an atractive adversary (the Spang brothers don't look so menaceful, even if they are, and the idea of a chief disguised as ABC is not used...
Published on February 2, 1998

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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed gem
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER marks the point in the James Bond series where Ian Fleming begins to tinker with the absurd. Later in the series, Dr. No is killed by falling guano, and Blofeld holds up on a Japanese "suicide island." In DAF, Bond takes a mud bath and fights a gangster who dresses up like a cowboy. Fleming writes that the gangster "should have looked ridiculous,...
Published on May 23, 2002 by John B. Maggiore


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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed gem, May 23, 2002
By 
John B. Maggiore (Buffalo, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER marks the point in the James Bond series where Ian Fleming begins to tinker with the absurd. Later in the series, Dr. No is killed by falling guano, and Blofeld holds up on a Japanese "suicide island." In DAF, Bond takes a mud bath and fights a gangster who dresses up like a cowboy. Fleming writes that the gangster "should have looked ridiculous, but he didn't" in his western regalia. Funny, his description reads like he looks ridiculous.
All of Fleming's Bond books are worth reading, and DAF is no exception. But this isn't his strongest work. The theme switches from gangsters to western to Agatha Christy-esque cruise-ship drama. It doesn't really all hold together. Fleming also keeps introducing new villains. He is most effective with Wint and Kidd, who have an ominous presence throughout the book. Fleming perfects the ominous presence with Donovan Grant in his next book, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, but Wint and Kidd are adequately eerie and threatening.
Less effective are the Spang brothers. The Spangs seem to be the embodiment of Fleming's inability to make up his mind about who his villain was going to be. What little personality these characters have (along with appearance and even one of their names) changes almost every time they are mentioned. They don't catch on as other Bond villains do, which is perhaps why they didn't translate even in name into any Bond movie.
Another flaw of the book, and to some degree the series, is that Bond seems to be going along for the ride in DAF. He forgets or doesn't notice the most obvious clues (and is surprised by Wint and Kidd), lets his guard down at the mud baths, and generally doesn't prove why he's so special. He and the girl, Tiffany Case, come close to falling in love...but why? The relationship seems very shallow. Finally, DAF is not really a spy novel. Bond is acting more like a detective than a spy. The reader is continuously reminded that these gangsters are just as tough as Russian spies and whatnot, but the reminder is only repeated because the story just isn't played out on as grand a stage as the cold war.
DAF has its strengths. Ian Fleming could have probably written a description of the contents of his refrigerator in an interesting way. For me, the settings of this book are familiar as well - it was neat to read about Bond staying at a hotel that I also stayed at. There's less 1950's atmosphere in this book than the others (another selling point for the other books), but DAF remains a genuine Bond novel, better than anything then non-Fleming Bond authors could produce. While not the best, Diamonds are Forever is at least enduring.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slight slump, December 26, 2005
By 
Glenn Miller (Minneapolis, MN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond Novels) (Paperback)
This fourth book in Fleming's series doesn't quite hold up to the three previous Bond novels. The problem is that Fleming tries to create a far more complicated plot while at the same time fitting it into the 220-page formula of the previous Bond adventures. The end result feels like a pat adventure in which everything is bundled up in far too quick a fashion. The resolution of Bond's relationship with the ever-present female foil is oddly dropped in the final chapter. Are we to believe the two of them rode off happily into the sunset? Settled down and had children? Does she appear in the series' fifth novel? Who knows... like so many other elements in this particular entry, these questions and more are left unanswered. It's a shame. After the tight plotting and good character development of Moonraker, Fleming uncharacteristically dropped the ball on this particular one. Perhaps the publishers were pushing him too hard to meet a deadline. Diamonds could have been a classic, given the plot Fleming was playing with. Unfortunately, he falls a carat or two short.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just Not That Exciting, April 13, 2007
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This review is from: Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond Novels) (Paperback)
One almost gets the impression that both Ian Fleming and Bond were coasting on their reputations in this book. The plot is about comparatively low stakes for a spy novel, the pace is leisurely, Bond is oddly passive (Felix Leiter and Tiffany Case save the day as often as Bond does) and not particularly clever (at one point he almost blows his mission because he apparently got bored waiting for something to happen to move it along), and the villains and action sequences are just not that memorable, at least not in a good way. Strangely enough, that means that the book suffers in comparison both to the movie (which, while hardly five-star, had some quirky, memorable moments) and John Gardner's later Bond novels, which dig deeper into both the characters and the settings of the world of 007. While not actively bad, DAF does little to show you why Bond became a literary or cultural phenomenon. Donald J. Bingle, Author of Forced Conversion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 007 meets the Mob, February 2, 1998
By A Customer
The fourth novel in the 007 series is a step back in a certain way, being a straight action/adventure Police story with certain familiar elements of the Bond world and some links to the spy genre. Maybe the American Mafia isn't quite an atractive adversary (the Spang brothers don't look so menaceful, even if they are, and the idea of a chief disguised as ABC is not used at its full potential). The early chapters, placed in London, and the Saratoga scenes are sometimes boring. The reappereance of Felix Leiter is one of the highlights, but the scene is more dialogue than else. The situations aren't as gripping as those of the previous novels, save some fine moments (the mud bath, the final sequence on the cruise ship, the Spectreville western scenario, the car chase in Las Vegas). The final is excellent, but the action there too brief. All in all, it's still the best 007 adventure in the US and is on the whole much better than the film. It also has the first appearence of the word "Spectre" in any form in a Bond book (Spectreville).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Soul of James Bond, May 17, 2003
This review is from: Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond Novels) (Paperback)
What a tantalizing cover this edition has. It really captures the enigmatic quality this particular James Bond novel by Ian Fleming exudes. In one sense this is Ian Fleming's homage to the mystique of the American gangster. Fleming's vision of the American gangster is one of a twisted, often emotionally and physically, violent character teeming with idiosyncrasies. They are a peculiar bunch to say the least. James Bond appears to be more the knight in shining armor in this novel than in most written by Fleming. Much of this can be attributed to the tough but sympathetic character of Tiffany Case whom Bond becomes emotionally attached and must rescue. It is interesting how in the film series the two primary directors, Terrence Young and Guy Hamilton, were influenced by the literary Bond created by Fleming. Hamilton seems to have been greatly influenced by this novel more than any of Fleming's others. We see Fleming's 1950's version of American hoodlums show up in Hamilton's "Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever" and even at the beginning of "The Man With The Golden Gun." More importantly this novel demonstrates Bond's affinity for the ever-fleeting notion of true love. Tiffany Case is the diamond in the rough that touches Bond's heart. This novel equally contains engaging scenes between James Bond and "M" and the overall description of the diamond smuggling pipeline is pure Fleming. This novel is highly recommended reading giving more insight into the psyche of James Bond.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow for Bond; great moments of characterization worth it, April 6, 2003
This book never really gets the momentum it needs (and clearly wants) as a thriller. I don't know what happened to Fleming, usually a master craftsman, during this one.
On the other hand, the scenes of friendship between James and Felix are great, and so is the romance with Tiffany Case. Her traumatized, jaded characterization is very believable and heart-breaking. Bond is a very flawed, human character in the novel, and one can really identify with him and empathize with is wanting to help Tiffany, wanting the relationship to work, even though as readers, we know better.
Not a good place to start on the Bond books, but for fans of the series, should definitely not be skipped.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bond does Vegas, September 15, 2007
This review is from: Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond Novels) (Paperback)
One of the big movies of recent times was Blood Diamonds, a grim action movie dealing with conflict diamonds, those mined in certain African countries in states of civil war. A few years before that, the final Pierce-Brosnan-as-James-Bond movie, Die Another Day also dealt with these diamonds. Ian Fleming had first introduced Bond fans to the African diamond trade much earlier, however, in 1956 with Diamonds Are Forever (and a year later, he would come out with a non-Bond novel called The Diamond Smugglers which also dealt with the subject). Moviewise, this is most noted as being the last "official" Bond movie featuring Sean Connery (Never Say Never Again, a remake of Thunderball, is not considered part of the official canon).

This fourth Bond novel has the British Secret Service agent contending with diamond smugglers who are sending the gems from Africa to England and then to the United States. When Bond first receives his assignment - to impersonate a smuggler and determine how the pipeline is organized - he treats it as something of a lark. After contending with SMERSH and other professional spies and assassins, dealing with simple American gangsters should be a breeze. Bond is to soon find out that he is underestimating the opposition.

In England, Bond meets the beautiful Tiffany Case who works for the smugglers. Like most women in Bond stories, Tiffany has had a rough past, but only needs the (physical) love of a good man (that is, Bond) to be healed. (Such damaged women are actually a staple in the so-called "men's fiction" of decades ago.) Tiffany gives the diamonds to Bond hidden in golf balls, and the smuggling goes fine; the "hot ice" arrives fine in New York. When complications arise regarding Bond's payment, he goes to Las Vegas where the pipeline also ends.

This is another fun Bond novel, albeit not the strongest in the set. Its big lack is a real good villain, although some of the bad guys are at least a bit interesting. As usual, the action is much more limited than the movies, but the trade-off is a bit more depth of character, though I'd be hard-pressed to call this a character-driven novel. It is, instead, pure entertainment, which is exactly what Fleming intended and succeeded in doing. This is another worthwhile read for literary Bond fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool New Covers, March 16, 2005
By 
The JuRK (Our Vast, Cultural Desert) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond Novels) (Paperback)
(I accidentally deleted my original review of March 16, 2005)

I looked up the James Bond novels to see if any new editions had been released, looking for new Forewords written for tem with interesting new insights, and found the whole series redone with new covers. The covers were so cool that, even though I already have all the books, I'm considering buying these new ones!

For anyone looking to the original novels by Ian Fleming after watching the films, I would say that they all read completely different from their cinematic versions. Only FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE come close to Fleming's works, and both the novels and films of those are among my favorites.

What I remember from the book DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER is thinking that Ian Fleming really didn't have an understanding of Americans. They were either pin-striped Chicago mobsters or tough-talking Texas cowboys--or in the case of this book, both: the mobsters dress up like cowboys in their own private Wild West town outside Las Vegas. Poor Felix Leiter, 007's CIA counterpart, appears to suffer the real-life slings and arrows of Bond's life, hobbling into this book with a hook for a hand and atop a peg leg.

Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd, the two gay killers who were such campy fun in the film version, appear in the novel as loathsome troglodytes (one of them constantly sucking on a wart on his thumb knuckle) and give Leiter one of his funniest lines: "(gay epithet) make the worst killers." (I laughed, anyway).

The Bond novels are definitely worth checking out. They're different enough from the films to be their own unique experiences. Fun, darker, more thrilling at times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Soul of James Bond, November 16, 2006
What a tantalizing cover this edition has. It really captures the enigmatic quality this particular James Bond novel by Ian Fleming exudes. In one sense this is Ian Fleming's homage to the mystique of the American gangster. Fleming's vision of the American gangster is one of a twisted, often emotionally and physically, violent character teeming with idiosyncrasies. They are a peculiar bunch to say the least. James Bond appears to be more the knight in shining armor in this novel than in most written by Fleming. Much of this can be attributed to the tough but sympathetic character of Tiffany Case whom Bond becomes emotionally attached and must rescue. It is interesting how in the film series the two primary directors, Terrence Young and Guy Hamilton, were influenced by the literary Bond created by Fleming. Hamilton seems to have been greatly influenced by this novel more than any of Fleming's others. We see Fleming's 1950's version of American hoodlums show up in Hamilton's "Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever" and even at the beginning of "The Man With The Golden Gun." More importantly this novel demonstrates Bond's affinity for the ever-fleeting notion of true love. Tiffany Case is the diamond in the rough that touches Bond's heart. This novel equally contains engaging scenes between James Bond and "M" and the overall description of the diamond smuggling pipeline is pure Fleming. This novel is highly recommended reading giving more insight into the psyche of James Bond.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody Does It Better, January 13, 2009
By 
Michael C. Smith "MGMboy@aol.com" (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Having just finished this book I have to say it ranks as my second favorite Bond book falling in place right behind "Casino Royale". Thrilling, clever and well written it is a real page turner. Ian Fleming creates a world so jam packed with action and tense suspense that is as fresh today as it was upon its first publication.
And what characters! Tiffany Case is complex, smart and full of witty wise cracks. But she is even more, a woman with such deep wounds and profound depth that she is more than just window dressing, more than a "Bond Girl". She is a fine complement to play off of and with James Bond. And of course Bond himself never disappoints. Tough, street-smart, hard edged killer, yet Fleming makes him bleed and shows us the hard business end of what an international spy goes through physically and emotionally to complete his assignment.
Fleming is also a master at painting in the subtle details of a scene, from the feel of the desert environments to the glittering glamour aboard a luxury liner. One particularly favorite passage is his spot on description of a flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas as seen by Bond as he looks out the window. Ian Fleming did his research on all locations and really delivers the goods when it comes to placing the reader within that world.
A thrill ride for sure and even more.
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Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond Novels)
Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond Novels) by Ian Fleming (Paperback - December 31, 2002)
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